Construction is a large and complex worldwide industry constantly shaped by new information technologies, advanced materials, environmental policies, regulations and changing building methods. Most importantly, though, construction is shaped by people. Sustaining a strong industry requires attracting and valuing a skilled, career-driven, high quality workforce... who also like to build! How is the construction industry attracting the skilled workforce for future growth market demands? Do prospective candidates see construction as a viable career choice?

Houston's Construction Career Collaborative (C3), a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization focused on the commercial construction industry in the Houston region, has made significant progress in the last two years.  Today, we are an alliance of over 200 institutional owners, general and specialty contractors that have each embraced the principles that drive C3.  Those principles include providing construction craft employees with financial security (hourly wage plus overtime), social security, workers’ compensation insurance, safety, and craft training.  We are constantly working to attract new alliance members and C3 accredited companies.  We need your help.

You might ask, “What is C3's mission anyway?”  C3's mission is to positively affect the issues facing the craft worker for the commercial construction industry in the Houston region.  The goal of this alliance of contractors, specialty contractors, and owners is to create a highly trained career construction workforce for Houston for the 21st century.  Evidence of that success will be a net gain in those jobs in our area and perhaps ultimately even beyond.

For the long term, in the face of demographic shifts, lack of defined craft career road maps and clear education for those students looking for a career in the construction trades, and a current shortage of skilled workers, C3 members are understandably concerned about the sustainability of the Houston commercial construction craft workforce.   Read more » about A Clear View of the Construction Career Collaborative (C3)

Having the opportunity to earn a decent wage should be available to everyone who is looking for one.

Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) of Greater Houston and the Construction & Maintenance Education Foundation (CMEF) now provide that opportunity to individuals looking to work within the commercial construction industry—an industry looking to train willing and dedicated individuals.

JPMorgan Chase released a study, Houston Skills Gap Report, which reported that there are currently 1.4 million middle-skill jobs in Houston, and projected 74,000 new positions to open each year through 2017.   Read more » about ABC Houston Bridging the Skills Gap in Construction

With each passing day, state and federal governments are getting more serious about rooting out and eliminating worker misclassification, sometimes known as payroll fraud. But much more must be done to end what has been called a "cancer...eating at the heart of our industry."

Regular readers of Construction Citizen know that worker misclassification happens when a company pretends its employees are “independent subcontractors” with the intent of skirting payroll taxes and benefits like workers’ compensation insurance and – because of their reduced labor costs – are able to submit lower bids for projects, undercutting ethical contractors.

In Professional Roofing Magazine earlier this year, attorney William E. Burnett gave contractors an in-depth look at the problem from all angles.    Read more » about Professional Roofing Magazine Shines Spotlight on Worker Misclassification

Hi there. The Chamberlin Man here.

Man alive! During those last few weeks of late spring to early summer, the rain had really been coming down. Widespread flooding had been headline news. Plus, many homes and businesses experienced water infiltration from the top down.

Fact of the matter is the incidence of roof failure rises with the rain gauge, too. And a roof failure can be devastating to interior finishes and costly to repair. Not to mention the potential cost of replacing inventory or belongings lost to a wet mess.

It’s bad news!  So allow me to share a silver lining.  While you certainly can’t control how much rain falls from the sky, there are measures within your control to help prevent roof leaks and failures.   Read more » about When It Rains, It Pours

In the construction industry, productivity and profit are always doing a dance. They are always partners no matter whether your firm is a global giant or a local sub. Whether productivity and profit perform well enough to make it onto the professional stage or just at the local club depends on both productivity and profit doing a well-choreographed performance. If the productivity on the jobsite is good, then your profit is likely better. If your work crews are not performing and productive, then your profits are likely not performing well either.

McKinsey & Company recently did a study authored by members of their team titled “Beating the low-productivity trap: How to transform construction operations” that focuses on 30 major UK infrastructure engineering and construction firms over the decade from 2005-2015 to measure their growth and to determine whether they either performed or underperformed in their markets.

Even though this study was about infrastructure engineering and construction firms centered in the UK, the points made and the tips offered can apply to every company doing the productivity-profit dance, no matter what your size, should “read and heed.”   Read more » about The Productivity and Profit Dance

The following article originally appeared in the July newsletter to clients of Kiley Advisors, LLC.  Reprinted with permission.

We often use the positive statement when referring to a person we admire “he/she has good character,” meaning they consistently act with integrity and high ethical standards.  It has been my observation, over 32 privileged years of working with contractors, most people, especially those attracted to the construction industry, strive to build a reputation for having good character, and to do business only with others that have the same.

However, I think the question can be legitimately raised, whether having “good character” is something we still value in political leaders, especially in candidates for the highest office in the land.  Predicated on the two presumptive nominees for the parties, it appears we may be relaxing the character standard substantially.   Read more » about Character Still Counts in the Construction Industry

The following article was originally published in the Houston Chronicle:

Mayor Sylvester Turner and City Council recently passed an ordinance encouraging apartment developers applying for tax incentives to provide workers with livable wages, offer affordable or workforce housing assistance, offer paid internships to low-income students, jobs to ex-cons re-entering the workforce and to create middle-skill jobs that don't require a college degree.

City leaders should be congratulated for taking a measured approach to encouraging new development while creating additional career opportunities in the skilled trades. But there is much more work to do if this story will become a true victory for the city of Houston, developers and individuals who work tirelessly building our community. For a number of complex reasons, the craft workforce in the commercial construction industry is unsustainable and inefficient. More craft workers are leaving the industry than joining it. Baby boomers are retiring and the industry is not attracting candidates quickly enough to replace them.    Read more » about The Construction Industry Needs a Culture Change: Stop the 'Race to the Bottom'

Talent and leadership are alive and well in America’s youth!  Last month, I attended the SkillsUSA National Championships in Louisville, Kentucky.  First of all, WOW!  6,000 students competed in 100 competitions from baking to welding to graphic design to carpentry all under one roof.  These students are the best of the best skilled young people that America has to offer, and they were competing for the gold medal in just about every industry sector.

After seeing the competitions firsthand, I have to ask: Were you there?  Did you attend your state’s SkillsUSA competition?  Do you know what SkillsUSA is?  As an industry, we cannot sit back and complain that we do not have enough skilled young people to fill our open positions if we are not willing to invest the time and energy into connecting with organizations that are doing it right.  I am very lucky that my job allows me to travel around the country and meet the wonderful, hardworking people who make up the construction and maintenance industries.  But at the same time, I am astounded at how many of them are unaware of SkillsUSA.   Read more » about The Talent is There, You Just Need to Get Involved

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